As winter approached, Margaret noticed that her father, Edward’s, mood began to change. He seemed down and spent more time sleeping. He had little interest in doing the activities he usually enjoyed and even avoided spending time with family members and friends. Margaret thought it would pass, but it didn’t. She persuaded Edward to go to the doctor and talk about how he was feeling. The doctor sent him to a counselor who determined that Edward had seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
If your older family member is feeling blue this winter, they could have SAD, too. Knowing more about the condition could help you to determine if your aging relative needs help.
What is SAD?
SAD is a type of depression. It occurs in tandem with changes of season. That is, it starts and ends around the same time each year. For most people, the symptoms start in the fall and last through the winter. However, it is possible to have spring and summer SAD, too.
It’s common for people to brush off SAD, thinking it’s just the “winter blues” and it will go away on its own. While it’s true that symptoms will abate as the season ends, there’s no reason for your older family member to live with SAD without treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of SAD?
The symptoms of SAD are similar to the symptoms of depression, except that they are related to the seasons. Some of the symptoms of SAD are:
- A feeling of depression that occurs almost every day and lasts for most or all of the day.
- A loss of interest in activities the senior usually enjoys.
- Lack of energy.
- Sleep problems.
- Changes in appetite or weight.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Although it’s normal for people to feel down once in a while, if your older family member seems sad for several days in a row and isn’t interested in their normal activities, it’s a good idea to schedule a doctor appointment to have them evaluated.
What Can Be Done About SAD?
If your older family member has SAD, there are plenty of ways home care can help them to cope with the condition. One way that home care can help is to increase the amount of time the senior spends exposed to light. The home care provider can take the older adult outside for a short time each day to sit in the sun or place them near a sunny window. It can also be useful to get a sun lamp for the older adult to sit under. Other things that home care can do to help seniors with SAD is to prepare healthy meals, help the older adult get more exercise, and offer emotional support.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care in Webster Groves, MO please contact the caring staff at Autumn Home Care, LLC today at 636-448-9347.
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